Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga sentenced to two-year imprisonment suspended for five years by by Colombo High Court over an indictment filed by the Attorney General

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga was today sentenced to two-year imprisonment suspended for five years by Colombo High Court over an indictment filed by the Attorney General.

Minister Ranatunga was convicted for the thirteenth count out of fifteen by High Court Judge Manjula Tillekaratne over an indictment filed for threatening a businessman over the phone and demanding Rs.64 million in 2015.

The Court further ordered the Minister to pay a fine of Rs.25 million. In the event of defaulting the fine, the Minister was ordered to serve nine months imprisonment. The Minister was further ordered to pay a compensation of one million rupees to the virtual complaint of the case.

Meanwhile, Maureen Ranatunge, the wife of Minister Ranatunga and Naresh Kumar Fareek second and third accused respectively were acquitted and released from all charges filed against them.

Minister Ranatunga was ordered be acquitted and released from the rest of the charges on the basis that the prosecution has failed to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Attorney General filed indictments on 15 counts against three accused Prasanna Ranatunge, Maureen Ranatunge and Naresh Kumar Fareek based on charges of committing offences between April 6, 2015 and June 2, 2015.

The prosecutors maintained that businessman Gehard Mendis who purchased a 2.5 acre land in Meethotamulla sometime back had allegedly requested the former Chief Minister to evacuate the unlawful occupants of that land and fill it with soil.
The prosecutors alleged that the Minister’s wife along with two others had entered into an agreement with the businessman to run this deal and the latter had already paid Rs.15 million to the former for the services.

The businessman Gehard Mendis had lodged a complaint with FCID saying that the former Chief Minister had threatened him over the phone demanding the rest of the money involved in a promised deal.
The prosecution maintained that the investigations have revealed that the accused had misappropriated a sum of Rs.15 million and the voice recordings of the alleged incident had been listed as a production item.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Pieris appeared for the Attorney General. President’s Counsel Anil de Silva with counsel Dhanaraj Samarakoon, Mihiri Madushani instructed by Senior Counsel Mary Dickman appeared for the accused.

Courtesy:Daily Mirror